It is a fact that online tutorials are not for everyone. The linear, long-distance teaching is definitely not for the unmotivated and easily distracted which is why there aren’t as many takers for it as conventional face to face learning. However, as a large number of people look to upgrade their skills, going online seems to work for them. Education startup Edureka is one of the startups that benefit from this trend. The company, got to 50,000 subscribers within six months and has broken even. By going non-linear of course!
Bangalore based Edureka was founded by two ex-Infosys employees & IIT alumni – Lovleen Bhatia and Kapil Tyagi. Together they decided to break the monotony that traditional web based teaching techniques provide with what they claim to be the first-of-its-kind’ live-instructor led courses.
The startup was formed after the duo made a trip to a college to understand the problems that students face. The courses offered were initially student based and provided a mix of online and offline study. “Over a period of time we realised that to scale we needed to get into the online mode from offline. Because you can’t get very good tutors to go to Ghaziabad, or to Aligarh or other remote places where we were catering to.” says Lovleen Bhatia, Co-founder, Edureka. The company currently primarily targets working professionals over college students.
Edureka offers their instructor led courses across a range of subjects in technology from Android, Big Data & Hadoop, Hadoop Administration among others. The company also provides a dedicated team at their helpdesk to assist students after classes.
“We offer support, this is completely missing in any other education portal. If you’re stuck with something between classes, there is always someone to help. People have problems after classes when they go back and try out things, so that’s where we step in.” says Bhatia
Edureka which currently receives 50-60% of all subscribers from the US, provides project-based courses that span across 4-8 weeks. All courses conducted happen over weekends in the early mornings or late evening to match timings of clients based both out of the US and India. The company also has a huge client base in India with most individuals applying being working professionals.
All student projects are video recorded and reviewed by tutors and are used to validate skills gained during the course. “Our tutors are not Professors. They are typically people who work in the industry. Most of the courses offered are new and so folks working with us are those who work with Facebook, Microsoft, Google etc. They work with us part-time.” says Bhatia.
Edureka conducts courses using GoToMeeting, a software which enables HD video conferencing. A typical course in any given class has around 15-20 students. While courses are charged based on the kind of subject being taught, a typical ticket size is somewhere around Rs 20,000 in India and $350-400 in the US.
The company that was formed in 2012, is bootstrapped by the two founders. “We’ve taken a small investment of Rs 40 lakhs or so. We’ve not raised funds, and we are a profitable company. We broke even in April 2013,” says Bhatia. “Since then we’ve been growing 20% MoM, so we may raise funds in the next year or so to help scale operations abroad.” he adds. Edureka views India as a “green” market where they would not require funding to further their position.
Edureka believes that their dependence on the B2C model gives them best access to the target customer while at the same time boosting revenues. “We probably are the only company who have also done a very good job in the US. So we get a lot of revenue from there. We also have very little customer acquisition costs so that also helps us.” says Bhatia.
The company also plans to expand the base across various other geographies in the next few months and also plan to add 24 technical courses in the next year. On the pipeline is experimentation with non-technical course offerings.
Online learning is not an easy space. While there are incumbents like TutorVista, startups catering to a niche like Simplilearn are also fast growing. Simplilearn which raised $10 million in Series B funding from Helion Venture Capital and Kalaari, also provides live virtual classroom interactions and training.
Recommended Read: How Simplilearn Hired Hundreds of People in a Few Months [Video]